London — Day Two

Surprise, surprise, it was raining in London.  The skies went from slate gray to pale gray to steel gray. So, it was time to head to a museum.  My favorite one in London is the Victoria & Albert, a museum of design. When I lived here, I visited it frequently and knew the collection well.

On arrival I headed towards two of my favorite exhibitions, jewelry, and theater. The museum is enormous, one guard told me it includes more than seven miles of galleries.  So, on my way to see those exhibits, many other exhibits caused me to pause. It was impossible to resist their fabulous silver collection or stained-glass windows that shimmered in the pale light.

The jewelry and theater collections were jammed, as was nearly every other gallery. I heard many languages and, especially in the jewelry gallery, much oohing and aahing.  Fabulous gemstones hold a special allure.  The theater collection has everything and anything about live performances—costumes, set designs, posters, playbills, props and more. I could have spent hours in that exhibition alone, but I’d promised Sue I’d meet her for lunch in the museum’s café.

Let’s just say that while I adore the café’s décor, the crowds were overwhelming. We finally found a table in the William Morris room. Sue headed off on a shopping jaunt. I spent more time at the V&A, then when I simply couldn’t walk anymore, boarded a bus. At Harrod’s I jumped off to take some photos, then back on the bus heading towards Piccadilly Circus. I spent an hour browsing in Waterstone’s (a large bookstore), buying a travel book by Michael Palin, “Into Iraq.”

A bit more squeezing my way through the crowds at Piccadilly and Leicester Square to meet up with Sue at her favorite Italian restaurant in London, Pasta Brown. They don’t take reservations and the queue to get in was daunting. But we did get a table and the food was worth the effort.

It was a short walk from there to the Noel Coward theater, where we saw “Best of Enemies.” The cast, led by Zachary Quinto and David Harewood (as Gore Vidal and William Buckley) were wonderful.  Although a couple of the actors’ American accent were a little strange.